Unreal Nature

August 31, 2015

I Have Destroyed the Ring of the Horizon

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:52 am

… not to make the difficult known by rendering it familiar, but to make the familiar known anew by rendering it difficult.

Concluding A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern by Kirk Varnedoe (1989):

… [C]ultural innovation takes two. It requires someone understanding how the rules might be changed, and acting on and transforming those rules; but then it also takes someone standing on the sidelines to value this innovation rather than demeaning or suppressing it. In order for modern art to happen as it did, a diverse cast of spectators — fellow artists, a few collectors, a critic here and there, eventually a public — had to decide not to throw the aberrant players out of the game, but to see that their mischief redefined the way the game might be played.

… When Malevich, after Airplane Flying, began to paint the Suprematist pictures of the late ‘teens, with their grounds of white and pure geometric shapes, he proclaimed, “I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and got out of the circle of objects … comrade aviators, sail on into the depths!” …Here the dreams of reason, the ideals of modern science’s detached, objective knowledge, blur into the white light of mysticism.

Malevich_airplaneFlying1915
Kazemir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying, 1915

[ … ]

The sounds of the sea vanish for those who live by its shores, as the thousand-voiced roar of the town is vanished for us, as everything familiar, too well-known, disappears from our consciousness.
… We are like a violinist who has ceased to feel the bow and the strings. We have ceased to be artists in everyday life. We do not love our houses and clothes, and we easily part from a life of which we are not aware.
… Only the creation of new forms of art can return to man the sensation of the world, can resurrect things, or kill pessimism.
… Automatization corrodes things. Clothing, furniture, one’s wife, one’s fear of war. And so that a sense of life may be restirred, that things be felt, so that stones may be made stony, there exists what we call art. [Viktor Shklovski]

“A dance,” said Shklovski, “is a walk that is structured to be felt.” The role of art is literally to bring us back to our senses.

… They wanted not to make the difficult known by rendering it familiar, but to make the familiar known anew by rendering it difficult.

My most recent previous post from Varnedoe’s book is here.

-Julie

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